Are your deals stuck in the “mid- Sales funnel death zone?”

Are your deals stuck in the “mid- Sales funnel death zone?”

Are your deals in the death zone of the sales funnel?

Near the summit of Mt. Everest, right before the famed Hillary Step, is the area known as the “death zone.” Sitting just above 26,000 feet, the death zone doesn’t have enough oxygen to sustain life, and is the most dangerous part of the climb.

Sales cycles also have a death zone. Depending on your stages, it’s somewhere between 3 and 5 – right before “proposal/redlining.” You’ve put work into these deals. It’s been qualified by an SDR. You had a discovery meeting. There was a demo (or 5). You told your manager that BANT was all there. It’s in the forecast. Maybe you even filled out an RFP or ran a free POC. And yet, the deal is sitting. The client keeps delaying. Or asking for more demos (“this executive just really wants to see it”). Slowly, the deal starts to run out of air – until, eventually, it gets closed in Salesforce.

Why is the deal getting stuck in the death zone? Simple – it’s because the client hasn’t seen the value. So what can you do to keep deals from getting stuck mid-Sales funnel? Lots:

  • Approach every meeting with a clear intent. What are you there to accomplish? What are the next steps after the meeting? This will keep everyone on track, and will limit “well, they want to talk next week.”
  • Focus discovery on finding value, not just qualifying the deal. Your client will get 80% of their value from 20% of your features – so find out what those features are before jumping into the demo.
  • Don’t demo without conducting any discovery. It can be “on the fly” discovery, but don’t just jump into software if you don’t know what the customer wants to see. And, when you do show software, make sure you’re always showcasing the benefits the customer cares about.
    • When I was leading a presales organization, I had a simple rule: I (and, by extension, my team) wouldn’t get on an airplane if the client wouldn’t agree to a discovery call. Not only did that call give me context for what to show, but it also served as deal qualification – if the prospect isn’t invested enough to give me 30 minutes, why should I spend time (and money) traveling. Plus, your CFO will thank you for this rule.
  • On the same vein as the last point, be careful of giving away too much for free. It’s easy to say “well, this is a huge company, so we need to do a free pilot/POC,” but if you’re going to do that, make sure you have documented success criteria and next steps before doing the work.
  • Focus sales stages on client behavior, not your activities. The trigger for moving from stage 2 to stage 3 shouldn’t be “gave a demo.”

Need help getting your deals out of the mid-Sales funnel death zone? Contact us for help!

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